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International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 794805, 11 pages
Research Article

On the Joint Time Synchronization and Source Localization Using TOA Measurements

1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
2School of Internet of Things (IoT) Engineering, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, Jiangsu 214122, China

Received 1 October 2012; Revised 1 January 2013; Accepted 7 January 2013

Academic Editor: Long Cheng

Copyright © 2013 Ming Sun and Le Yang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper considers the problem of estimating the clock bias and the position of an unknown source using time of arrival (TOA) measurements obtained at a sensor array to achieve time synchronization and source localization. The study starts with deriving the localization mean square error (MSE) for the case where we pretend that the source clock bias is absent and apply TOA positioning to find the source position. An upper bound on the clock bias, over which we shall obtain a higher localization MSE than that from jointly identifying the clock bias with the source position, is established. Motivated by the MSE analysis, this paper proceeds to develop a new efficient solution for joint synchronization and source localization. The new method is in closed-form, computationally attractive, and more importantly; it is shown analytically to attain the CRLB accuracy under small Gaussian TOA measurement noise. Computer simulations are conducted to corroborate the theoretical development and illustrate the good performance of the proposed algorithm.